We could all use a little extra cash. Maybe you’d like some help with your mortgage payment every month, want to save up for your next vacation, or are just looking to add to your savings. In Utah, where nearly every home has a basement, you have an excellent opportunity to earn a little extra cash right under your feet. Below, we cover a few basics you should know about gaining a profitable rental space through basement remodeling in Utah.
But first, how much money could you realistically earn on a basement rental in Utah?
Why Salt Lake City Basement Finishing is a Smart Investment
A quick search on KSL.com shows that basement apartments in Salt Lake City range from $1,200 to $2,200 a month, depending on the square footage, location, and the number of bedrooms or bathrooms.
Airbnb, a popular short-term rental website shows that many private basement apartments in Salt Lake City, for two or more guests, rent for $80 to $150 a night. While this varies depending on the date and season, it doesn’t include the additional cleaning fees which are also covered by the renter.
Whether your goal is to rent your extra space for short-term stays or to gain a long-term tenant, a basement apartment can be an excellent way to maximize your home’s potential — especially in a popular tourist destination and growing metro area like Salt Lake City.
How to Convert Your Basement Into a Rental
Don’t start selecting paint colors or shopping for furniture just yet. There are some critical aspects of basement finishing in Utah that you must consider before renovating your space. These will not only make the space more comfortable for tenants, but will also ensure you’re following local regulations, too. (More about that below.)
Learn About Local Laws That Govern Basement Remodeling in Utah
In Utah, you must comply with local laws that support safety and structural integrity when renovating your basement. Be sure to review local regulations and tax ordinances to avoid the fees and legal hurdles that come with any potential violations.
In Salt Lake City, the Existing Residential Code outlines many of the safety, environmental, and occupancy requirements for homes, including basement apartments. This code gives regulations for shower and bath sizes, fire safety points of egress, natural light, smoke detectors, and more.
To guarantee you’re meeting these requirements, you will likely need a building permit from your local municipality before making any renovations.
Add Or Enhance a Separate Entrance and Increase Natural Light
Especially for long-term stays, it’s important to install a separate point of access for renters that leads to the street or the yard. A separate entrance is about more than privacy; having an exterior door offers more safety in the event of a fire or other emergency.
Additionally, make sure your basement windows qualify as points of egress (or additional points of escape in an emergency). Ensuring windows are the proper size also offers more natural light which can make a basement feel more welcoming and open, improving the quality of your apartment. Be sure to double-check regulations in terms of windows; you may also need a certain number of points of egress to accommodate a certain number of renters.
Install a Bathroom and Kitchen or Kitchenette
Bathrooms and kitchens require certain plumbing hook-ups that your basement may not have. Utah basement contractors can help not only fit your space with the right plumbing infrastructure, but also build, install, and finish your bathroom and kitchen areas.
For short-term rental space, consider offering a small “kitchenette” area if a full-size kitchen isn’t in your budget. Providing a microwave, additional sink, and small fridge can improve the livability of your basement unit for those guests staying in your space for just a short amount of time.
Check for Damage Before Insulating and Waterproofing
Because basements are prone to dampness, damaged wood and mold are not rare occurrences. Have a thorough inspection of your basement completed before you begin finishing the space. If you fail to fix structural issues or mold at the beginning of your renovation project, it will only mean additional costs and headaches down the road.
If you’re unsure of what to look for, hire a capable Utah basement contractor to complete this step for you. They’ll be able to detect wood rot as well as insect damage in common problem areas like floor joists, the sill plate, and wooden window frames, among other areas.
To discover how damp your basement is, invest in a hygrometer. They’re quite affordable and can be bought at most home improvement stores. This device gives you a relative humidity reading. (Note that homes are recommended to have a humidity level between 30-50 percent.) If your basement has a higher humidity level, it’s likely because there are leaks or cracks in the walls or foundation where outside humidity is entering. Repair any structural damage and then use a de-humidifer to restore a more comfortable humidity level in the space.
If your basement is damp, mold is more likely to be present, too. Mold is a serious health issue, so don’t try to tackle this problem on your own. Hire a mold remediation company to come test for and remove mold from your basement.
Finally, don’t forget about the overall air quality and purity in your basement. You want to make sure the air is healthy and supports comfortable living. If your HVAC system is in the basement, it’s a good idea to test the air quality to make sure the system is ventilating correctly. Also, if you haven’t tested for radon, now’s the time. This invisible, odorless gas can cause long-term health complications and is most commonly found in higher concentrations in basements. Order a radon test online for quick, accurate results to determine if you need radon remediation.
Trust Utah Basement Finishing to the Construction Experts at Aspire
Basement finishing, when done well, requires several steps but can be well worth the time and investment in the long run. Our Utah basement contractors have finished basements all along the Wasatch Front and are ready to make your space a comfortable, inviting place that people will be excited to rent. If you’re short on time and don’t have much remodeling experience, trust us. We’ll handle everything — including making sure your remodel is up to code and compliant with local regulations. Contact us to get a quote about your Northern Utah or Salt Lake City basement finishing project.